Reframing Ancestral Jewish Melodies
REFRAMING ANCESTRAL JEWISH MELODIES
Josh Harlow and Jonathan Taylor both grew up singing unique Passover melodies that were brought to America when their ancestors immigrated from the Jewish-Ukrainian communities in Bershnitz and Monastrishte. Their musical project Teiku interprets these melodies through the lens of creative music and modern jazz, reframing them as launching points for improvisation and arranging them in a rich song cycle that is deeply personal yet universal in its beauty.
The excitement of improvisation lies in its uncertainty and its potential for infinite possibilities. Teiku (a Talmudic acronym which means “unanswered question”) refers to the collective feeling of discovery that improvising musicians know well: creating spontaneous and cohesive sonic environments that are felt viscerally but cannot be expressed with words.
Teiku is also archival in its scope, working to document and reframe unique family melodies from the larger Jewish community. Harlow (piano) and Taylor (drums) are joined in various formations by John Lindberg (bass) Peter Formanek (woodwinds) Aliya Ultan (cello) and Will McEvoy (bass) to bring this concept to life.